Why Jesus – Part 1
Scriptures: John 1:1; Gen. 3:15; Isa. 7:14; Matt. 1:18; Luke 1:35
This week we started our Bible study on the book of John. John was one of the youngest of Jesus’ disciples. John wrote his Gospel after he wrote the book of Revelation so as he was writing his Gospel he had insight into future events that the other Gospel writers did not have. It is believed that John was in his nineties when he “dictated” his Gospel and he had a purpose in mind. There were teachings that had entered the Church about the true identity of Jesus and whether or not He was truly the Son of God and the prophesied Messiah – the Christ. John opens his Gospel with the following: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (John 1:1) John wanted to make an emphatic statement that Jesus was the Son of God; that He had existed in heaven prior to taking on a human form; and that He was in fact God. Everything he recorded after this initial statement was the proof to verify this statement. He wanted the readers to know without a shadow of a doubt that Jesus was the Christ!
The title of my message this morning is “Why Jesus.” This message will be part one as we prepare ourselves to celebrate Easter in three weeks. Before I go any further, I want to stress that I will not be asking “Why Me Jesus?” in this message, but explain why I truly believe in my heart that Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life (John 14:6). I believe that salvation comes through Jesus and Him only! Through this message I want to try and answer some of the questions that we all ask ourselves at some point in our faith walk about the possibility that there can be other ways to heaven. I believe that Jesus is the only way and I am prepared to tell you why I believe this. It is up to each person to decide for themselves what they believe, but I am blessed that we serve an awesome God that enables us to hear the truth and understand it when we are ready to hear. So let’s begin on this journey to understand why Jesus. Why is Jesus truly the Christ and the Savior of all who will accept Him?
I. The Odds
To begin with, I want to review a term that some of you may be familiar with. The term is “odds.” Odds are a numerical expression, always consisting of a pair of numbers. It is used in both gambling and statistics. In statistics, odds for something reflect the likelihood that a particular event will take place while odds against something reflect the likelihood that a particular event will not take place. To express odds for, if you had one die, the odds of rolling a six with a fair die (one of a pair of dice) are 1 to 5. This is because if one rolls the die many times and keeps a tally of the results, one expects 1 six event for every 5 times the die does not show a six. The results would be expressed as 1/6 chance of 16.7%. To express odds against, the order of the pair would be reversed hence odds against rolling a six with a fair die are 5 to 1. These results would be expressed as 5/1 or 83.3%. Keep this in mind as we go through the series. Now consider the odds of Jesus being the one and only person to meet the criteria as prophesied in the Old Testament. To accept this fact you must first believe what is recorded in the Old Testament. To help you get your mind wrapped around odds, let me give you an example before we examine some prophecies pertaining to Jesus.
What are the odds that if you mailed me a letter with the correct name and address on the envelope that I would get it. The odds would be very close to 1 to1, meaning that short of human error (which could happen) the letter you mailed to me would get to me every time (or 100%). This seems like a very easy calculation until you factor in that there are approximately seven billion people in the world today who could possibly be eligible to get this letter. With seven billion people in the world, why are the odds so high that I would get the letter and it not end up in the hands of someone it was not intended for? It’s because of the “qualifying” information you put on the envelope – the address. So follow along with me. I am going to mail a letter to John Doe who lives at 11111 West 75th Street, Lenexa, KS, 66215. He lives there with his wife and three daughters. There are a total of five people living in the house. I write this address on the envelope and mail the letter. When the Post Office gets my letter, it uses this information to sort through many people to ensure the letter gets to the person it’s intended for. So let’s look at the process of “weeding out” all the other people who could get the letter:
• State: I am mailing the letter to someone in the state of Kansas. This immediately removes 6.997 billion people out of contention for my letter as there are approximately 3 million people living in the state of Kansas.
• City: The letter is being mailed to the city of Lenexa in Kansas. Lenexa has an approximate population of 50,000 people. This removes another 2.95 million people out of contention for my letter. So with just two points of information, I removed the chance that 6.99995 billion people from possibly being considered to receive my letter.
• Zip Code: There are five zip codes serving the city of Lenexa. There are approximate 10,500 people in the zip code 66215. Adding in the zip code removes another 39,500 people from being in contention for receiving my letter.
• Address: Of all the homes and apartments in Lenexa Kansas, only one has this address. So the address further removes another 10,495 people from being in contention to receiving my letter.
• Name: I told you that there were five people living at this address. The name on the envelope eliminates John Doe’s wife and daughters from being in contention for receiving the letter. The letter arrives to John Doe.
Consider the fact that today, with over seven billion people in the world, with five pieces of information, you can mail a letter across the world and you have almost a 100% chance of the letter getting to the person it is intended for. Five pieces of information removes almost seven billion people out of contention for getting a letter intended for someone else. This is in fact what the prophecies did for Jesus. The Old Testament prophecies, if you choose to believe it, removed billions upon billions of people from possibly being the Messiah. This morning I am just starting the foundation. Over the next few weeks, we will review several prophecies pertaining to Jesus and believe me when I tell you the odds are totally in His favor.
II. The Prophecies
Around 1958, Peter Stoner and Robert Newman wrote a book entitled Science Speaks. In the book, he applied the modern science of probability to just eight prophecies regarding Jesus the Christ (there are over 400 prophecies pertaining to Jesus.) He says “The chance that any man might …fulfilled all eight prophecies is one in 10 to the 17th. That would be one in one hundred quadrillion.” That’s 1 with 17 zeros. In the book he also suggests you take 10 to the 17th in silver dollars and lay them on the face of Texas. They will cover all of the state 2 feet deep. Then he says to mark one of the silver dollars and stir the whole mass thoroughly hiding the marked one. Now comes the good part. Blindfold a man and tell him he can travel as far as he wishes across the state, but he must pick up the one silver dollar that is marked. What chance would he have of getting the right one? Texas is a very big state so who in their right mind would even think of sending out a blindfolded man in 2 feet of silver dollars to try and recover one that was marked? Mr. Stoner concluded that this man would have the same chance that the prophets would have had of writing those eight prophecies and having them all come true in any one man – provided that they wrote them in their own wisdom. The chances are so extremely remote that one man could fulfill just 8 prophecies written hundreds of years before his birth let alone 400+ prophecies pertaining to Him and those around Him. Do you see what I am getting at? Are you starting to see “Why Jesus?”
There are several prophecies pertaining to the birth of Jesus, from his birth line to being their flight to Egypt when He was a baby. Before I close I want to review just two of those with you and we will continue in two weeks as next Sunday is the 4th Sunday.
#1: Virgin Birth
The first prophecy that I want to review is that He would be born of a virgin. I know you know this, but I want you to have a Scriptural record so that you can answer those who ask you. Let’s read Genesis 3:15 and Isaiah 7:14.
“And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; he shall bruise you on the head, and you shall bruise Him on the heel.” Genesis 3:15
“Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel.”
The key term in the verse from Genesis 3:15 is “woman’s seed.” Remember, Jesus did not have an earthly father. The only human DNA that He had had come from Mary. Isaiah prophesied that a virgin would bear a son. Both of these prophecies were fulfilled. Turn to Matthew 1:18.
“Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: when His mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit.” Matthew 1:18
Turn to Luke 1:35.
“The angel answered and said to her, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy Child shall be called the Son of God.”
The second prophecy that I want to share with you this morning pertains to where Jesus would be born. Turn to Micah 5:2.
“But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel. His goings forth are from long ago, from the days of eternity.”
Now turn to Matthew 2:1-6.
“Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying, ‘Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him.’ When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. Gathering together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born. They said to him, ‘In Bethlehem of Judea; for this is what has been written by the prophet: ‘And you, Bethlehem, Land of Judea, are by no means least among the leaders of Judah; for out of you shall come forth a Ruler who will shepherd My people Israel.” Matthew 2:1-6
These first two prophecies pertained to Jesus being born of a virgin and being born in Israel. Both prophecies from Isaiah and Micah were written between 680-740 years before the birth of Jesus. Seven-hundred years before He was born, Micah predicted that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem. Of all the cities that existed at the time, Micah predicted Bethlehem of Judea as the birth place of the Messiah – and he got it right! How amazed would you be if someone predicted something was going to happen a year from now and it did? Multiply that by 700 years! Two different prophets gave two different prophecies about the Messiah that were fulfilled in one man. The three wise men came to Jerusalem seeking Jesus. Remember what they said? They saw His “star!” His address! Micah prophesied the partial address of Jesus birth. When Herod questioned the chief priest and scribes, they told him the prophecy. They knew where his birth “address” was located as it relates to the city/state – in today’s term. This fact limited the number of people who could be considered to be the Messiah. The three wise men followed the star – the one that stood out among the millions of stars in the sky. This star was their “GPS” for finding Jesus. What is our GPS for finding Him?
I can’t get into it this morning, but some people have questioned whether Jesus really existed and if there were writings outside of the new Testament to corroborates His existence. I can tell you that there are other writings that exist that mention the existence of Jesus. I will review a couple of them later in this series.
As I close this morning I want you to consider something. At the beginning I told you that if I sent a letter to someone and I took care in addressing the envelope correctly, short of human error, I had a 100% chance that the letter would reach the person I wrote it to. Why? Because everything I put on the envelope would act as criteria for removing those individuals the letter was not intended for. The post office can find the right person with just five pieces of information as long as the information is accurate. We use five pieces of information to ensure the post office delivers a letter to the right person and we have complete confidence that they will get it to them. We have so much confidence in this system that we seldom send the mail “certified” because we know it will be delivered without the “extra” proof because of the five pieces of information that we included on the envelope. Five pieces of information and we have our guarantee.
If I can place five separate pieces of information on an envelope and almost guarantee with 100% accuracy that the letter I am sending will reach the intended person I want it delivered to, how can I not believe with 8 different predictions that only Jesus fulfilled that He was not the Messiah? How can I not believe the three wise men who saw His location, followed the star, found Him and worshipped Him? Jesus fulfilled every single one of the prophecies related to Him! If the post office goes through so much trouble to ensure that the mail gets delivered to the right person based on five pieces of information placed on an envelope, should we not be as diligent with so much more information available to us to make sure that we recognize the “right” Messiah?
I will continue this in two week. Please chew on what I have shared this morning about the odds of anyone else fulfilling the prophecies in order to be named the Messiah.
Until next time, “The Lord bless you and keep you. May the Lord make His face shine on you and be gracious to you. May the Lord lift up His countenance on you and give you peace.” (Numbers 6:24-26)